It’s time to take the climate crisis seriously: The 1975 and Greta Thunberg said so.
The new song from The 1975 on their upcoming album Notes on a Conditional Form isn’t a typical tune from the English group. It is titled "The 1975," a tradition for the band — each of their past three albums has kicked off with a self-titled track — but unlike their other songs, you won't hear Matty Healy, the band’s frontman, singing you into the pop abyss. This time, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg took center stage, reading a speech over light, soft music.
“We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis, and we need to call it what it is: an emergency,” Greta says, about 30 seconds into the song. The speech, which is nearly five-minutes long, is reminiscent of her speech from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last year.
It’s true that we’re in the midst of a climate crisis. Carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels is changing our climate, there’s more carbon pollution in the air than ever before, and the earth is heating at faster rates than we’ve ever seen: In fact, it’s already gotten nearly 1-degree celsius warmer since 1880, according to the Climate Reality Project.
“Yes, we are failing, but there’s still time to turn everything around,” Greta says in the song, adding: “Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homosapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gasses. And either we do that or we don’t.”
According to the National Parks Service, there are many ways to stop, or at least reduce, the greenhouse gas emissions, including taking individual steps like installing solar lights, using energy-saving light bulbs, line-drying clothes, gardening, and more. But the most important thing you can do, scientists the Union of Concerned Scientists urges, is to put pressure on your elected officials to implement comprehensive climate solutions, like expanding renewable energy, reducing oil use, placing limits on the carbon emissions, and more. Greta has been applying that pressure her whole life.
Healy tweeted that meeting Greta “was such an inspiration.” He added that the band is pledging all of their income from the track to Extinction Rebellion, “an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse.”
Since 1901, sea levels around the world have risen by nearly eight inches — entire islands have been swallowed, and coastal cities like New York City, Miami, Melbourne, and Dakar are shrinking, according to the Climate Reality Project.
“You say that nothing in life is black or white,” Greta said in the song. “But that is a lie, a very dangerous lie. Either we prevent a 1.5 degrees of warming, or we don’t. Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don't. Either we choose to go on as a civilization, or we don’t. That is as black or white as it gets. Because there are no gray areas when it comes to survival.”